School of Engineering: What’s new for 2013-2014

August 23, 2013

Concrete is poured for the foundation as Asst. Prof. Shahria Alam (second from right) discusses the ‘green concrete’ project with students.

Concrete is poured for a house foundation as School of Engineering Asst. Prof. Shahria Alam (second from right) discusses the use of recycled, or ‘green concrete’ project with students. It is the first time ‘green concrete’ has been used in residential construction in the Okanagan.

Faculty Research

Abbas Milani, associate professor, mechanical

Collaboration with Boeing on materials

The pan-western Composites Research Network (CRN) is a major funded research program by Government to help Canadian scientists to turn new discoveries in composite manufacturing into practical applications, with nodes at several universities including UBC campuses in Vancouver and the Okanagan. In early 2013, Boeing became a founding industrial member of the CRN and has been providing significant guidance and support to a network that is based on an equal partnership between the creation of knowledge and its practice. Assoc. Prof. Abbas Milani is the director of CRN Okanagan node that is closely working with the local industry to employ both modeling and experimental research tools in a range of applied projects in transportation, construction, sports and aerospace industries.

Cigdem Eskiagolu, assistant professor, civil

Collaboration with Fraser Valley Biogas

The project is funded by Mitacs Accelerate Program and one of my PhD students (Muneer Ahmad) is involved. Fraser Valley Biogas Ltd. operates the BC’s first anaerobic digester in Abbotsford that utilizes on-farm and off-farm waste to generate biogas (methane) and digestate. The digester processes dairy and broiler chicken manure, whey, fats, oils and grease (FOG), and food waste from restaurants in the region. The result is pipeline-quality methane (~90% of biogas), ready to be injected into the FostisBC’s distribution system. Fraser Valley Biogas digester generates an average of equivalent of 50,000 gigajoules of natural gas per year. This is equivalent to heat approximately 500 homes and reduction of GHG emissions by approximately 2,500 tonnes of CO2 per year. The goal of the project will be to identify an optimum digestate (material remaining after biogas conversion) management option to be reused as fertilizer.

Close ties to businesses and organizations

Capstone projects, course coordinators for 2012-2013 Ray Taheri and Wilson Eberle
Project Title: Hydrogen Fuel Cell for Unmanned Air Vehicles
Faculty Supervisor:  Mina Hoorfar, associate professor, mechanical
Industry Sponsor:  Ballard Power Systems Inc.
Team Members:  Paul Barry, Daniel Guerrero, Ryan Phillips and Samuel Yew

Project Background

Power supplies have always limited the applications and functionality of Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs). Commonly used power supplies for UAVs include compact combustion engines, and excessive lithium-polymer batteries. Both of these involve disadvantages such as short flight time for batteries, or centre of gravity and vibration issues with a gas engine. Ideally, a modular power source with sufficient energy density to supply the UAV will reduce the operating costs by allowing for longer flight times.

Using Ballard’s fuel cell technology, a full design has been implemented to produce a desirable substitute for incapable traditional power sources. In order to satisfy the requirements of the UAV motor, the power conversion, coolant subsystem and hydrogen subsystem are critical design aspects. A microcontroller will be used as an interfacing technique to control valves, power, and the cooling fan all simultaneously. Lastly, a prototype is built to demonstrate proof of concept and functionality of the controllers.

Project Title: Phone-Tablet Integration
Faculty Supervisor: Julian Cheng, associate professor, electrical
Industry Sponsor: Cisco Systems
Team Members:  Devyn Farr, Marie O’Brien, Graham Pavlik and Nils Stockinger

A new market is emerging that combines the convenience of personal devices and the professional environment of an office or workplace. “Bring-Your-Own-Device” has become popular as more and more people bring their smart phones and tablets to the office.

Cisco Systems has requested a prototype that integrates the functions of a corporate telephone with communication technologies found in devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The design team was tasked with redefining the role of a desk phone while maintaining its core features and functionality.

New programs and courses

Revamped first year curriculum (APSC 169) – contact Vladan Prodanovic for further information

New faculty members

Hadi Mohammadi (Mechanical) – assistant professor

Hadi Mohammadi received his PhD degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Western Ontario in 2008. Also, he was a visiting researcher at the Integrated Manufacturing Technologies Institute (IMTI) of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), where he worked on the design and manufacture of hydrogel based heart valve prostheses.

LOÏC Markley (Electrical) – assistant professor

Loic Markley received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto.  His research interests are in fundamental and applied electromagnetics topics related to metamaterials – artificial materials with exotic electric and magnetic properties.

Keekyoung Kim (Mechanical) – assistant professor

Keekyoung Kim holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto. He has worked as a postdoctoral research associate for Stanford University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School and Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, and Pennsylvania State University.

Personnel changes and promotions

New organizational structure to accommodate growing needs of school and faculty.

Spiro Yannacopoulos, Associate Dean
Rehan Sadiq, Director

Over the last year, faculty members promoted and earned tenure

Cigdem Eskicioglu – associate professor
Kasun Hewage – associate professor
Rehan Sadiq – professor
Solomon Tesfamariam – associate professor
Claire Yan – senior instructor

Contact information

School of Engineering
1137 Alumni Ave.
UBC’s Okanagan campus
Kelowna, BC
Tel: 250.807.8723
Fax: 250.807.9850


Media Contact

Patty Wellborn
Media Relations Strategist
University Relations

UBC Okanagan
Tel: 250 317 0293

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